How to fix USB mouse problems

Question: My son purchased an Intellimouse Explorer optical mouse. This mouse has a USB connection, and the package includes a converter from a USB port to PS/2 port. The computer has a serial mouse port. When we added another converter (from PS2 to Serial), the computer couldn’t find the mouse. We’ve spoken with a number of different service departments, and all pretty much agreed that it is not possible to go from USB to PS2 to Serial with the mouse, so I bought a USB card.

The instructions were simple – open up the computer; install the card in a PCI slot; close up the computer; start it, and have the Windows 98 CD ready for when the computer asks for it. We installed the card, closed the computer, and started it up — and got nothing but intermittent “beeps”. The screen is totally black, and restarting with a Windows start up floppy disk had no effect whatsoever.

If it weren’t for the beeping, there would be no indication that the computer was even turned on. Can you help? –Brad

Answer: The Intellimouse Explorer draws power from the system to work, so it requires a PS/2 port or USB port. Both can provide a peripheral device with power. A serial port has no power capabilities, though, so the mouse won’t work with it, as you’ve discovered. Since an optical mouse uses a beam of light instead of a trackball, it simply has to have juice to operate.

As for the add-on USB card, it sounds like the system may have an electrical short. Perhaps the card is not slotted correctly or another card became dislodged when the USB card was installed. Open the case up again, and remove and reseat all the peripheral cards that back onto the rear of the case.

If this doesn’t solve the problem, remove the USB card, and check the Internet to see if there is a BIOS update available for the machine. The manufacturer of your machine or make of the motherboard can help you locate an update. Normally BIOS updates are available for download from the manufacturer’s website.